DNA – Discover New Ancestors (maybe)

DNA – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Let me start off by saying that I am a technology guy. I am not always a first adopter for every technology. Instead, I embrace technology where it looks like it will help and wait to adopt it in areas where it’s not yet ready.

Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P Series II

I have been a computer guy since the late 1970s. I learned to program on my friend’s Commodore PET and on the school district’s NCR minicomputer. I bought my first computer in 1979 – an Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P Series II system with the fastest Motorola 6502 processor on the market. It’s still in our attic (but it has a special connector for the video output, so I can’t run it anymore).

I am an IT guy. I do IT for a living. E-mail and texting have been my regular ways of communicating since about 1982.

From the very start of my genealogical journey, starting in the late 1980s, I used a genealogy database to keep track of my tree. First PAF. Then The Master Genealogist. Back to PAF for Windows once TMG went belly-up. And now, I have been a firm devotee of RootsMagic for years. I use scanners, clouds, on-line tools like Evernote and Dropbox.

But, I also rely on good, old microfilm, and dusty books in archives, and vertical files, and file cabinets full of paper, and lots of old family photos. So, technology is great, in its place. It augments rather than replaces good methodology and proven tools and techniques.

Last week, when I told you the story of one of my brick walls, I said that DNA was a key part of what helped me to accept family stories and take a new direction on my searching for the family of Mary J. Sartain.

I tested with FamilyTreeDNA when it was too expensive. I added and upgraded tests as they got cheaper. That was in the days of Y-DNA as the primary test.

I’ve done autosomal tests with FamilyTreeDNA, Ancestry, and 23-and-Me. And I’ve uploaded that data to GedMatch for even wider coverage. I’ve encouraged my parents, my step-dad, my in-laws, and others to test.

But, if I am absolutely honest about things, DNA has not yet been the huge boon for me that it has been for other people.

I attribute this to lots of things. First, I have not yet completely immersed myself into squeezing all of the information out of my DNA testing. I have only dipped my toes into the myriad of tools and techniques offered by DNA. There’s no doubt that this can be a daunting area. I think I am taking an approach of having a cursory understanding so that when I hit a situation where I feel like it will apply, I can then find out what I need and begin to use the tools. This is pretty much how I have approached most of the new tools I’ve encountered.

Second, after thirty years of traditional research, I don’t have that may gaps within seven-ish generations, pretty much the limits of direct application of a lot of the DNA tests. After that, there is more work in terms of triangulation between people, using DNA and other research together, etc. But, since I’ve been just grabbing the apples hanging low on the family tree (with respect to DNA), I’ve not found a good opportunity yet.

All of that being said, I have high hopes for DNA not just in genealogy in general, but in my and my family’s research in specific.

It’s funny, but when I look at my step-dad’s matches, so far of the hundreds of matches he had, only about 3 are on his father’s side of the tree. And those are on the part of the tree that we understand. But, one day, that descendant of the Reglin dynamiter will test and the mystery will crack open.

And for my mother-in-law and father-in-law, I am confident that all of the matches to their Irish ancestors will be invaluable in finding their real lines in the tangled web of Irish trees.

So, lacking any real break-throughs with DNA, this has turned into a bit of my philosophy of using DNA. Short version: I’m for it, but haven’t jumped in with both feet yet, lacking a target that really requires it to move forward. But, I will. And I will find lots of new cousins and new ancestors.

Watch for sales, especially from Ancestry. Get your results. Even if all you look at is the ethnicity. Post a short tree. Explore your matches and look at ThruLines. (Short side-note: When I look at my mother-in-law’s results, they are the only ones I have seen that are so definitive. 84% Ireland / Scotland and 16% France. No fractions, no tiny pieces of other places. Just those two. And in the Irish section, it actually does pretty well in targeting the counties that her ancestors came from.)

Don’t forget, DNA stands for Discovery New Ancestors. Take advantage of what it can provide. But don’t assume it’s a magic potion made of spit. You still have to put in the effort and solid research to get what it can give.

Bricks, Bricks, All the Way Down

Brick Wall – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Sometimes, it feels like the brick walls just keep going and going and going and we’ll never get over, around, or through them. After thirty years of researching my family, it feels like all I have left are brick walls.

My Mom won’t even help me research her family. She says that I’ve found all the easy stuff, leaving just the really hard things to find. She’s right, of course, but my step-dad’s family is no picnic, either. All of her brick walls are written in old German script and are stored overseas. At least all of my records that I need that don’t actually exist were lost on this side of the ocean!

When we run into something that we can’t seem to figure out, we call it a brick wall. We search all the regular sorts of records. We try everything we can on-line. We try to reach out for records from other sources, like the courthouses. We visit archives and libraries and cemeteries and dusty basements. We lament burned courthouses and preachers who never returned marriage licenses and census takers who seem to have missed whole towns.

But, I think the bruises on our foreheads from beating our heads on the wall may be our own fault. How often, when in the middle of trying to solve a problem and get around a brick wall do we follow a rabbit down a hole and get lost in a whole different line of research?

Or, do we fail to make a plan and wander around aimlessly as we try to follow the bricks and get to the corners or the end of the wall?

But eventually, our tree may grow over the wall. Or the roots of our tree may break through the wall. And we can get to the other side. And we can find out more about our families and move on to the next mystery.

close up root of old giant tree growing at vintage brick wall

So, if you’ve made it this far, you might have guessed that I don’t have a strong story for this week. I am in the middle of a brick wall exercise right now. I thought I was making progress, but then yesterday, it fell apart again.

Mary J. Sartain married Thomas M. Higgs on Christmas Day, 1857. I think you’ve met these two before. They are my great-great-grandparents. Mary was, supposedly, born in Decatur, Morgan County, Alabama, in 1834. In all of my research, I have yet to find any families that look like they could be hers in that area. I’ve been at a loss.

Another researcher (Page), years ago, told me that she felt sure that her ancestor, Susannah Sartain, was the sister to my Mary. I failed to follow up very well on this at that point. But, with Ancestry’s new ThruLines tool, what does it suggest, but that Susannah Sartain was the sister to my Mary. So, I contacted my research partner again and we began to talk.

Yes, in fact, she heard stories from her family for years about my great-aunt Lida and about her brother Jere Will. She understood that Mary and Thomas even helped raise Susannah’s daughter for a period. So, that’s a pretty good family connection. Maybe we need to pursue this again.

I took to the census. Long ago, I (and my research partner and others) had identified a candidate family for Mary and Susannah. Alfred Sartain and Susannah Sarah Ramage were living in Northport, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama in 1850 and had daughters named Mary J. and Susannah who were exactly the right ages. Looks pretty positive, so far.

Just to add to mix, there was another Mary J. Sartain, also born in 1835, in Tuscaloosa County. What are the odds? I can’t find Sartains anywhere, but all of a sudden, I have three Mary J. Sartains born within 18 months of each other! A little quick research here found a marriage record for this Mary to a Benjamin Sexton which clearly stated that she was the daughter of Jacob Sartain Jr.

This starts to help piece the steps of the ladder over the wall. Jacob Sartain Jr and Alfred Sartain appear to be sons of Jacob Sartain, Sr, who came to Tuscaloosa from Spartanburg, South Carolina before Alabama statehood.

Now, what about the rest of Alfred’s family? You know the FAN club ought to be investigated. I really want to find something that can connect my Mary to Page’s Susannah to Alfred, and ultimately Jacob Sr.

It seems like this Sartain family stuck together. In 1870, Alfred’s married children were all within a house or two of his on the Census. It really seems like this family stuck to Northport, Tuscaloosa County. (I was unable to ever find any of these families or any of their 1850 or 1870 neighbors in the 1860 census. It seems like this whole community may be lost in the census.) Mary doesn’t appear in the 1870 census in Alfred’s house, but that’s what we expect – she should have been married to Thomas and moved to Arkansas by then. Alfred’s son, Jesse, married Sarah Ann Sexton and then died in the Civil War. Alfred’s daughter Sarah Ann married Horace H. Sexton. She died in 1876, at which point Horace married her sister Susannah.

Hmmm. That doesn’t sound right. Page’s ancestor, Susannah Sartain, married James C. Hicks in Florence, Lauderdale County, Alabama on 10 Oct 1850. What’s this being single in 1870 in her parents’ house but also being married in 1850?

I pretty much think that as busting this line of attack. It makes it clear that Alfred and Susannah Ramage Sartain are not the parents of either Mary J. Sartain who married Thomas M. Higgs or Susannah Sartain who married James C. Hicks. Nor is Jacob Sartain Jr. the father of my Mary J. Sartain.

So, being methodical and following the research through to a clear conclusion at least allowed me to avoid spending any more time on this line. It also made it clear that this candidate, which initially looked very strong, was not at all strong.

But, what to do next? I think a geographic search may be the right approach. Lauderdale, Morgan, and Limestone counties, where the events we know about happened, are all in northern Alabama, near or bordering Tennessee. I think the next step is to look for some new openings in the wall in northern Alabama. It may well be that we reconnect to Jacob Sartain Sr. back in South Carolina. But who knows!


Large Family – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Thomas Ware – A Real Texas Pioneer

Sometimes, I immediately know what to write about as I start on my 52 Ancestors post for the week. Sometimes, it’s really hard to get a hook and get started. This week sort of hits on both sides of that wall.

Thomas Ware was an early pioneer into the Republic of Texas, actually Mexico. I’ve always known that. And I’ve known that he had a pretty large family. Well, really he had multiple families that when added up make a large family. But, as I dug in to tell his story, I realized how little of that story I actually knew. So, this week, I’ll tell you what I know and then sketch out a research plan to find out more about what I don’t know.

Whenever you start to research someone, it’s really important to figure out what you want to know, and to be specific about it. Make good research questions and then figure out what to look at in order to find the answers.

But, in order to make the questions, you have to start with what do you already know and why you believe it to be trustworthy. So, we will start with that.

Who was Thomas Ware?

Thomas Ware was born about 1770. Where he was born is a bit of a question. One author says in Maryland, though other folks say that it could have been in Virginia or in North Carolina. I think I would probably lean on Virginia, since his father and grandparents were there for years, or North Carolina, since it would be along the migration route to Georgia, where they ended up by the time that Thomas was married.

Thomas and Mary Sarah “Sarah” Jimerson married in about 1793-1796. The US and International Marriage Records database says that this took place in Talladega, Alabama. This also seems unlikely. At that time, Alabama was a part of Georgia. The Ware families were congregated in Lincoln County, which is along the Savannah River, north of Augusta. So being on the western frontier, which was not open to white settlement, seems unlikely.

Thomas and Sarah’s first daughter, Margaret “Peggy” Ware, was born about 1797 in Lincoln County, Georgia. They went on to have another eight children in Lincoln and Green Counties between 1797 and 1813. The family had moved a little bit west from Lincoln County into Greene County, south of Athens, around 1805. Sometime before Jun 1818, Sarah Jimerson Ware died.

The Family of Thomas Ware and Mary Sarah “Sarah” Jimerson

  1. Margaret “Peggy” Ware, b. abt 1797, Lincoln County, Georgia
  2. John Ware, b. 1798, Lincoln County, Georgia
  3. Jamison Ware, b. 1800, Lincoln County, Georgia, d. 20 Jul 1863, Calhoun County, Arkansas
  4. Robert Ware, b. 1802, Lincoln County, Georgia
  5. Martha Ware, b. abt. 1804, Lincoln County, Georgia, d. 1854
  6. Elizabeth K. Ware, b. Aug 1805, Greene County, Georgia, d. 28 Mar 1875
  7. Sarah Jamison Ware, b. 24 Nov 1807, Greene County, Georgia, d. 16 Dec 1883
  8. Ezekiel P. Ware, b. 1810, Greene County, Georgia
  9. Henry B. Ware, b. 29 Jul 1813, Greene County, Georgia, d. 9 Jul 1898, Pass Christian, Harrison County, Mississippi

In June 1818, Thomas Ware married a second time to Phoebe Peeler. Thomas and Phoebe went on to have another six (or maybe seven) children between then. The first was born in Greene County, but the rest were in Gwinnett County, just to the east and north of present day Atlanta, but west again from Greene County.

The Family of Thomas Ware and Phoebe Peeler

  1. Mary Ann Ware, b. 1820, Greene County, Georgia, d. 1880
  2. Lucy E. Ware, b. 17 Feb 1821, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 16 Jul 1901
  3. Louisa Parks Ware, b. 6 Jul 1824, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 13 Dec 1889
  4. Nicholas Tyler Ware, b. 7 Feb 1826, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 1 Jan 1893
  5. Artemesia Ware, b. 17 Nov 1827, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 9 Dec 1909
  6. Virginia Carolina Ware, b. 1829, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. bef. 1852

Here’s where we begin to see the lack of breadth of my knowledge of this family. I first looked at Thomas and his family when I first began researching. I found a pretty well researched book on the Wilder and Ware family. And from there, I made a beeline through my ancestral line. I’ve never got around to going back to fill in the gaps. I think this blog is going to make me to that.

As I look at the family here, I have to assume that the children of Thomas and Sarah moved with Thomas and Phoebe into Gwinnett County. Well, at least some of them did. By that point, in 1821 when they got to Gwinnett, the oldest children would be married and out of the house, but the youngest children of Sarah would be less than ten years old still.

The family appears in the 1830 US Census in Gwinnett County. But, Thomas hears the call to go west again and heads to Texas, taking up in the Republic of Texas by 1840. He is one of the foundational ancestors of the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas. By 1844, I find him on tax rolls and on land transactions. I think once I get more research done on him and his family, there will be lots of stories to tell. I have already found passing references to Thomas and his son Nicholas being brought up on charges of attempted murder. But it also sounds like the intended victim “needed killing”. There’s got to be a good story there.

The children of Thomas and Sarah (his first wife), by and large did not accompany Thomas and Phoebe to Texas. Remember that by the time he headed to Texas, Thomas would already have been 70 years old. But he would have had an 11 year old daughter and a total of four children under the age of 18. I find these in the Texas records, so they for sure came with him.

By 1844, Phoebe died and Thomas married for a third time to Jerusha W. Gordon Hope, a widow. They had one child, but I have not found good records there yet. She died by 1848 when Thomas married for a fourth and final time (at the age of 78) to Nancy A. McClosky, another widow.

So, what are my questions about this big family and what do I want to discover about them? Here’s a list:

  • When and where was Thomas Ware actually born? This means I need to investigate his parents and their movements to figure out where they lived when Thomas was born.
  • When and where were Thomas and Sarah actually married?
  • When and where was Sarah born?
  • What went on in Thomas’ life prior to his marriage?
  • Fill in the gaps on the children of Thomas and Sarah, Thomas and Phoebe, Thomas and Jerusha.
  • What kind of property did Thomas own in each of the places he lived? This helps to understand when they were in each place.
  • Fill in the gaps to the other three wifes – Phoebe Peeler, Jerusha W. Gordon Hope, Nancy A. McClosky
  • What role in Texas history did Thomas and the Ware family play?
  • Was the land patented in 1857 in Fannin County by Thomas Ware this Thomas or his descendant?

These are a pretty big list of questions for a guy who lived a pretty big life and who had a pretty big family.

At the Library – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

It’s already Saturday and I still haven’t shared a story about “At the Library” for this week. I’ll make the excuse that I was traveling again, but that doesn’t go very far.

Actually, I have had a hard time figuring out what to write about.

So, I think I am going to recap a story I have told before and then point to “the rest of the story.”

Long ago, about 30 years ago, I got started in this game we call genealogy. I was in Fort Smith, Arkansas visiting my grandparents and went to the library there to do my very first day of genealogical research. I was so excited! I found my grandfather’s grandfather in the census. Granddad had not known his name, so he was happy, too.

Then, for about the next 27 years, through many many many trips to the library, and many libraries at that, I found no more solid documentary evidence about my Dickson family. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. I had a couple of theories and some circumstantial evidence about a family I thought was a likely connection, but nothing hard.

Finally, then, I was going back through some old photos and found the connection I was looking for. And that has sent me back to the library for more real data on the Dicksons.

Rather than detail the whole story, take a look at my previous posts where I break down this brick wall in detail;

Next week is back on the road, so another convenient excuse. But I’ll try to do better.

Challenge – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

It’s sort of ironic that the theme for this week is Challenge. My biggest challenge lately is finding time to sit down and think about this blog. I spent this week in Toronto. I have not been home for a whole week since Thanksgiving and won’t be home for more than a weekend at least until mid-February. I guess for all of us, time is always the biggest challenge.

Genealogically speaking, however, here’s one of my current challenges. I hope one of you can offer some ideas as to how I can break through this one.

Thomas Morton Higgs was born 11 Jul 1837 in Athens, Limestone County, Alabama, at least according to his granddaughter. On Christmas Day 1857, he married Mary J. Sartain in Athens. She was supposedly from Decatur, Morgan County, Alabama, born 27 Jun 1834.

I have been to the county Archives in both Limestone and Morgan counties and scoured all of their original records. I copied the marriage record straight from the book where it’s recorded. But that’s the first record I can find of either of them.

Now, normally, to find their families, I would think that the 1850 U.S. Census would be a good place to start. I cannot find any Higgs anywhere around, except for the well-documented family of a Charles Higgs, the local sheriff in Limestone County. Likewise, Sartains / Sartins / Certains / etc. are non-existent in northern Alabama. I do found one family that is a potential one for Mary – Alfred Sartain in Tuscaloosa. But, I cannot find any indication that they came north at all.

I’ve searched tax records, land records, estray records, court records, census records – everything that I could find in northern Alabama and the southern counties of Tennessee.

The marriage record says that they were married in the home of William H. Oglesby. Well, I can find him in Athens. Both he and his son, Fountain, are wagon makers. In 1850, William is 43 years old and Fountain is 19. Both are wagon makers. Now, Thomas ends up as a shoe and boot maker, so I don’t know that there is a connection there. I have not found any connection between the Oglesbys and either Higgs or Sartain.

By 1860, Mary and Thomas have moved to Iuka, Tishomingo County, Mississippi where they are found in the home of John Waldrup. Waldrup is also a shoe maker. My hypothesis is that they were in business together, either as partners or one as an apprentice to the other (Thomas to John since John appears the more established one.) But again, I can find no other sort of connection between the Waldrup family and either the Sartain or Higgs families. It seems like it’s just business.

When the Civil War broke out, like so many in the South, Thomas enlisted. He joined Co. E of the 17th Mississippi Infantry. He mustered in on 27 May 1861 at Corinth, Mississippi and signed on for a period of twelve months. He rose to the rank of 4th Sergeant before being discharged on 10 Jan 1862 due to his health. His early discharge was due to “general disability due to pneumonia and erysipelas”, though other records record “pneumonia, rheumatism, etc.”

My grandmother, Mary Higgs Wren, and her sister Lida Higgs Lee, both said that their grandfather had lost his sight during the war, but I have never found any record that would indicate this.

Thomas and Mary’s first child, John William “Will” Higgs, was born 7 April 1859 in Magnolia, Columbia County, Arkansas. How did that happen? Seems like perhaps they had moved to Arkansas and then came back to Mississippi when Thomas decided to enlist. If that were the case, then I would expect to find some sort of family connection in the area for Mary. But, I don’t. On the 1860, William, age 1, is clearly listed as born in Arkansas, as well as in all future records.

By the 1870 census, Thomas and Mary and their two sons (Will and Ira Thomas Higgs) were now in Hempstead County, Arkansas. They were living in the home of a physician, M.C. Boyce, and his wife Nancy. Dr. and Mrs. Boyce and four of their children were all from Alabama, but I’ve not found a connection there. It would appear that they were in Arkansas by 1857. In the home, there appear to be a number of children, as well as perhaps a previously married daughter and her children. The oldest child born in Arkansas was M.R, aged 13. All before that were from Alabama.

The family Bible records that Thomas died on 4 Feb 1875 in Hempstead County, Arkansas at the age of 37. Mary stayed in Hempstead County for a while, but eventually moved to Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas, where she died 29 Oct 1887. According to my grandmother and my aunt, they were buried in the old cemetery in Washington, Hempstead County, Arkansas. They both remembered visiting the graves many years ago. When we tried to find them again, we found that the highway had been moved. They thought that the road perhaps had been relocated through the old section of the cemetery, where the stones may have been just stones. So the graves are also lost.

In the end the challenge is this: how can I find anything to connect Thomas and Mary to their families? I think that the Higgs folks probably came to northern Alabama from east Tennessee, above Knoxville. But, how would I connect Thomas as a child to one family or another. Likewise for Mary. I find a candidate family in the 1850 census, but I haven’t been able to find any connection between any of the people in that family and any Higgs folks.

There you have it. Is anyone up to this challenge and can help me find these mystery ancestors?

Finding Granddad’s WWII Records

This post is a shameless plug. But, it’s the real deal. So, stick with me.

This past year, I wanted to find my grandfather, Robert H. Dickson, Jr’s World War II service record. I had sent away for his packet some years back and discovered that it was not available. You might remember there was a terrible fire in St. Louis in 1973 at the records center housing many of the personnel records from the Army and the Marines. I thought that was probably the end of that.

Then, I was watching the live stream from RootsTech last year had heard Jennifer Holik speak. She talked about the fact that, while individuals’ records might have been lost, they could often be reconstructed. The payroll records and unit daily reports, and many others, were still available. She said not to give up. She said that you very likely could find a lot more than you realized. She talked about exactly how to go about searching and reconstructing those records. It sounded really promising to me. (By the way, you can watch her presentation from RootsTech here.)

However, much of this work has to be done on-site in St. Louis, Missouri and then in College Park, Maryland. Maybe not the most convenient, with my crazy travel schedule.

So, I contacted Jennifer at the WWII Research and Writing Center and contracted with her. She is a professional genealogist specializing in military records. She writes, teaches, researches, and councils with people searching for records or, more importantly, the stories of those that served.

Jennifer was able to find the records that detailed exactly where my grandfather was nearly every day for his time in the Army in the Philippines. This came from the unit records, payroll records, and other sorts of records that mentioned Granddad in the St. Louis archives. Then, she combined that with the broader histories and narratives from the units that Granddad served in. This really filled out the story and the experiences that he would have faced while in the field.

The result was an awesome report! I added photos to the report, then had it, the photos, and the unit histories bound and gave a copy to Dad. He was thrilled with this. He said over and over how much Granddad would have loved to have seen it.

Title Page – Robert H. Dickson, Jr’s World War II Service Report

So, my recommendation: if you are curious about your ancestor’s WWII records (or records from WWI, Korea, or Vietnam) and are serious about finding more about their experience, get in touch with Jennifer. Take one of her online classes. Go to one of her talks. Contract with her as a researcher if you feel like it’s out of your depth, or like me, you can’t get to the records. She’s a great resource and writer!

You can find her at http://wwiiresearchandwritingcenter.com. Be sure to take a look.

2019 Resolution Updates

This is a place where I will update my progress against my 2019 genealogy resolutions. Please keep me accountable on these. I have tried to make these S.M.A.R.T. goals. (See the original post for more on that.)

Update Summary

  • 30 Dec 2018 – Updated 2.1 – Inventory of Archival Supplies

1. Community Participation

  1. Participate in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for 2019. My schedule is to publish these blogs on Fridays. Update Facebook and Twitter with new posts. Timeframe: all year
  2. Participate in Wordless Wednesdays. My schedule is to publish these on Wednesdays. Update Facebook and Twitter with new posts. Timeframe: all year
  3. Start attending a local genealogical society’s meetings and find a way to get more involved.  Cobb County Genealogy Society may be a good fit. They meet the 4th Tuesday of the month. Timeframe: Attend first meeting in January or February.

2. Archives and Organization

  1. Inventory archival supplies on hand. I know I have a lot of sheet protectors and folders and maybe some empty archival boxes. Timeframe: by 1 Jan 2019
    • Update 30 December 2018
    • Flip top boxes – 2 empty, several only partially full
    • Archival folders – ~70 letter, 100 legal
    • Archival paper envelopes – ~20 5×7, ~50 9×12
    • Sheet protectors – ~200 letter, ~50 legal
    • Photo sheets (assorted) – ~60
    • Archival poly envelopes – 85 4×6, 75 5×7
    • Archival pages – ~60
    • 3 boxes mounting corners
  2. Make sure all documents are in archive folders to protect them. Label folders. Timeframe: at least two boxes per month, starting in January.
  3. Sort photos and documents into boxes grouped by family line. Most are grouped already, but there are several boxes labeled just “Incoming”. Timeframe: at least two boxes per month, starting in January. Concurrent with folders.
  4. Finally scan wedding pictures. It’s only been 22 years. Timeframe: Complete before 28 April 2019 (the anniversary of our engagement).
  5. Settle on an organizational scheme for digital and scanned photos and documents.  I have thus far mostly grouped photos by large family groups, or by who gave them to me.  This isn’t working for many anymore as some of these groups have grown to nearly 2000 images.  This is going to have several sub-steps:
    • Determine folder organization. Timeframe: by 31 March
    • Determine naming scheme. Timeframe: by 31 March
    • Determine scheme for tagging photos and documents for easier searching. Timeframe: by 31 March
    • Select one group for a test and copy it into the new scheme. Timeframe: by 31 May
    • Test for two months to see if it works. Timeframe: by 31 July
    • If successful, apply the scheme to the rest of the documents. Timeframe: by 31 December 2019
  6. Be sure all documents and photos in the closet are actually scanned. This includes rescanning things scanned at low resolutions. Identify people in photos or determine that their identity needs to be researched. Even if the whole workflow isn’t finalized, they can go into the incoming queue. Timeframe: one box per month, starting in April.
  7. Scan Grandmother’s photo album that I never scanned. Timeframe: complete by 28 Feb 2019

3. Research Goals

  1. Secret Project #1 – Timeframe: 31 January
  2. Secret Project #2 – Timeframe: 28 February
  3. Connect with Sartain DNA match from Ancestry to try to find out about Mary J. Sartain. Timeframe: 1 May
  4. Identify lineage societies that I or my family could join. Detail necessary descent. Select one and apply. Timeframe: 30 June
  5. Document and prioritize current list of open research questions. Timeframe: 1 April